Barbecue Salsa Salmon with Poblano Brown Rice

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A salmon and rice bowl that is killing it with flavor is perfect for a busy night.
salmon and rice bowl
The salmon in this dish is one of my favorite ways to prepare fish. It’s fast and easy and results in crispy, caramelized salmon that is amazing in everything from tacos to salads, to grain bowls like this.
And, it requires nothing but a good barbecue seasoning blend and your favorite salsa. That’s it.
salmon and rice bowl
To cook the salmon, I start with a hot cast-iron skillet. Season, and add it to a well-oiled pan. Let it cook until both sides are nice and browned. You want a crispy, caramelized sear on both sides. Then, add your salsa (pan will likely smoke!) and use a spatula to break up the salmon. This way, you infuse the salsa flavor into the fish and it finishes cooking much faster. I’ve used this technique with white fish and shrimp as well. But this salmon and rice bowl may be my new favorite.
For the rice, I used my Instant Pot, but you can cook it on the stove or in a rice cooker if you like. The poblanos add a nice smoky flavor that pairs beautifully with the salmon. Bell peppers, jalapeños, or any combination of peppers would work well here. Chopped onions and garlic are a given, and you can add extra seasoning if you want.
What I like about this is that it’s fast, nutritious, but also doesn’t skimp on flavor. It also doesn’t require a lot of prep. If you cook the rice in an Instant Pot, you can truly have dinner on the table in less than a half-hour.
If your salmon is too spicy, you can add a dollop of sour cream on top at the end. Some fresh chopped cilantro adds freshness and additional flavor.
salmon and rice bowl
salmon and rice bowl

Barbecue Salsa Salmon with Poblano Brown Rice

This easy salmon and rice bowl is flavorful, filling, and nutritious. Perfect for a busy weeknight.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 375 kcal


Poblano Brown Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 poblano pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic mince
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice rinsed
  • 2 cups broth or water

Barbecue Salsa Salmon:

  • 2 6- ounce skinless salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning blend
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup prepared salsa of your choice
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Sour cream and fresh cilantro for serving, optional


  • First, make the rice.
  • Set your Instant Pot to saute and add the oil, onion, and peppers. Stir and cook for a few minutes until softened and stir in the garlic and cumin.
  • Cook for about 30 seconds and add the rice. Stir and cook for about a minute.
  • Add the broth and put the lid on your pot. Set the pot to pressure cook with a 20 minute timer.
  • When the rice has about 15 minutes left, start your salmon.
  • Season the salmon liberally with the barbecue seasoning.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add the oil.
  • Add the salmon to the pan and cook until both sides are a deep golden brown.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and carefully add the salsa to the pan — it may smoke; that’s okay.
  • Using a spatula, break up the salmon and stir to mix the salsa in.
  • Continue cooking until it is cooked through.
  • To serve, spoon the rice into a bowl or plate and top with the salmon.
  • Serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.


Storing leftovers: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Variations: This technique works well with white fish such as cod or halibut, or shrimp — you don’t have to chop the shrimp though.
Sourcing: I used Los Muertos Barbecue Seasoning from Ava Jane’s Kitchen and Willie’s Medium Salsa to cook the salmon.
Pairs well with: Easy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup, Roasted Cherry Tomato Guacamole, Garlic Lemon Spinach


Calories: 375kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 16gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 30mgPotassium: 519mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 140IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition information is only an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. View full nutrition disclousre.
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